The Prophet and the Priest

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Defending Faith and Reason

There are direct messianic prophecies e.

The Priest and The Prophet

If we limit ourselves to the direct messianic prophecies just mentioned, a conservative number would be approximately The key to understanding the role of the promised Messiah and the main difference between traditional Jewish and Christian messianic views is His dual role of suffering and reigning. While there are many passages that describe a glorious reign for the Messiah Jer.

While the Hebrew Scriptures provide many details about the Messiah, perhaps there is no better way to view the subject than through a grid of His threefold work as a Prophet, a Priest, and a King. It will be seen that Jesus is also presented in this way in the New Testament—as the one who combines all three of these roles in His own person. Likewise, the Messiah came to this earth, not only to rule and to redeem, but also to proclaim the truths about divine revelation.

The Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that the group of ascetic Jews at Qumran were still looking for this great prophet. Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? The apostles, however, understood the real identity of this prophet. Jesus was the ultimate Prophet, the one who perfectly fulfilled all of the prophetic ideals. Therefore, Jesus certified Himself as the promised Messianic Prophet by faithfully predicting things that later took place just as He had predicted. Only one example is needed: Jesus predicted the total destruction of the Jerusalem Temple Mt.

No one else in history qualifies to be the Prophet predicted by Moses. Jesus is that Messianic Prophet.


The most basic function of the Old Testament priest was to offer sacrifices. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. One further passage, Daniel —27, mentions the priestly sacrifice of the Messiah.

Space does not permit a full treatment of the amazing chronological aspects of this passage. The verse also states that this sacrificial death of the Messiah would take place before the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.

Quick Facts

Messiah as King The first king in Israel, Saul, was anointed by Samuel to initiate his role in the theocratic kingdom 1 Sam. However, long before Saul and David, prophetic Scripture had anticipated an anointed king, one whose characteristics went beyond any earthly monarch. Jacob around B. The Psalms are full of references to a future king whose characteristics make it clear that David, as powerful as he was, could have been only the typical prototype of the ultimate king. In the same Psalm, this one is described as ruling in the midst of his enemies after they have been defeated v.

Isaiah predicted that the Messianic child would bear the governmental authority upon the throne of David Isa. Balancing these seemingly contradictory descriptions necessitates two comings of that King, first in lowliness see the fulfillment in Mt.

Pilate, therefore, said unto him, Art thou a king, then? Truly Jesus is the Messianic King.

Mary Johnson, Patricia Wittberg, and Mary L. Gautier

Mention was made earlier of the Qumran authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Their writings make it clear that they understood this threefold role of the Messiah from the Hebrew Scriptures they so venerated. However, they thought that there would be three different Messiahs who would come in the last days: a Messianic Prophet, a Messianic Priest, and a Messianic King.

They were on the right track, but they did not have it completely clear. There were not to be three different Messiahs, but one Messiah with three roles. Consider a few New Testament passages in which the rubric of Jesus as Prophet-Priest-King makes the passage come alive to the reader.

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In Hebrews —28, the word appear occurs three times. But now once, in the end of the ages, hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

In this regard, it is interesting to note that there were individual Israelite examples of people who were at the same time both priests and prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah and also a person who was at the same time both a king and a prophet David. But no examples exist of an Israelite being both a priest and a king remember that Melchizedek was not an Israelite. In fact, whenever a king tried to serve as a priest, he was punished severely Saul, 1 Sam.

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